Friday, March 1, 2013

NE State Sen. behind open container bill gets DUI with BAC of 0.234 (~14 drinks in 3 hours); 2nd scandal by an appointee of NE Gov. Heineman in last 30 days; page says Lautenbaugh kept liquor in Unicameral office

Nebraska's GOP Governor, Dave Heineman, isn't commenting on his 2007 Republican appointee to the Unicameral, Omaha Senator Scott Lautenbaugh, who was pulled over Wednesday at 2:27 a.m. on West Maple, a busy four-lane thoroughfare and discovered by a sheriff's deputy to be legally intoxicated times three.
     When the Omaha World-Herald asked him where he was drinking and how he got home, Lautenbaugh's response was that he had been out with friends and didn't want to involve them.
     His arrest came scarcely a week after introducing fellow GOP state senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont as a candidate for Governor. 
     The last time an appointee of Gov. Dave Heineman scandalized the state was, um, last month, when now ex-Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy resigned after KETV and the World-Herald disclosed (after filing separate freedom of information requests) that Sheehy had made about 2,000 calls on his state-issued cell phone to four women who weren't his wife.
     (In Sheehy's defense, AKSARBENT must note that he had a plan with unlimited minutes.)
     Regarding Gov. Heineman's judgement about political appointments, AKSARBENT will refrain from commenting about the slo-mo shipwreck that is Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps, since his partisan shenanigans mostly only affect one Nebraska county.
     Bold Nebraska's Mary Ann Andrei has been all over this. Here's some of what she found out:
Lautenbaugh’s LB 456, allowing draft beer purchased at restaurants to be carried and consumed off premises, is scheduled for public hearing at 1:30 on Monday. Sara Draper, a program specialist with Nebraska Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), was troubled to hear that Lautenbaugh intends to proceed with LB 456. “Any law allowing an open container is of concern to us,” she said, “because it doesn’t teach responsible behavior when it comes to drinking and driving.” In response to Lautenbaugh’s DUI citation, she said, “We find it interesting that he proposed an open container law and then got caught drunk driving a few weeks later.”
Andrei researched how drunk Lautenbaugh may actually have been:
     Indeed, Lautenbaugh’s BAC suggests someone with a high tolerance. For a man of his size (estimated, conservatively, at 250 pounds) to reach 0.234 BAC would require roughly 14 drinks in the three hours before he got behind the wheel. At this level, Creighton University estimates an average person would need assistance in walking, would be disoriented, and would be nauseous with likely vomiting. Most people would black out. With an estimated increase to BAC of 0.02 per drink, Lautenbaugh was just one drink shy of blood alcohol poisoning.
Andrei even followed up on a comment posted by Nebraska Watchdog on this story:
UPDATE, 2/28, 5:30pm:
     After posting this story, we received a return phone call from Alex Wunrow, the former Nebraska legislative page who posted on the Nebraska Watchdog comment section. He confirmed his identity and had this to say:
     “I was a page at the time so [Lautenbaugh] asked me to go down to his office to get him some ice so he could drink a cold Diet Coke. When I opened the freezer, I saw the handle of a bottle of Captain Morgan [rum] in there. And then when I grabbed a Diet Coke from the fridge there was a case of either Bud or Miller Light. I know for a fact that he drinks in his office. All of the senators joke about drinking, but he was the only one I knew for a fact had alcohol in his office.”
Wunrow is a student of Advertising and Public Relations at UNL.

1 comment:

  1. As a family member of the victim of a drunk driver, I am outraged at Senator Scott Lautenbaugh’s recent behavior driving with an alcohol level of nearly 3 times the legal limit. He is an elected public official who has had the privilege of listening to many drunken driving victims as well as family members testifying about how drunk driving impacted their life. Evidently this meant absolutely nothing to him or he would have not broken the law in this manner. He needs to do the right thing and resign from his position as a Senator and attend to his own personal health issues. He also should be banned from any legislation pertaining to alcohol issues because obviously he is in denial about the impact to society it causes if he is willing to break the law. After all, he is a law maker and should not be a law breaker. The citizens of the state should be just as outraged because he placed anyone in his path in danger that night. If he was at a licensed liquor facility prior to his driving the vehicle, he should make that information public because that facility should have their liquor license reviewed. And if he was with friends, he needs to re-evaluate his friends, because they let him drive drunk. What employer would allow someone to have liquor and beer in their office? The NE tax payers pay his salary, are you going to allow him to get by with this?